Twitter Data Could Improve Subway Operations During Big Events

Published By: University at Buffalo News Center, 1/26/2017

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Research performed at the University at Buffalo has suggested that the swelling of subway usage during large events correlates closely with increases in Twitter activity. The Twitter data, which can be filtered by location and content, could potentially become a cost-effective aid to event planning and transit scheduling for crowded occasions.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of Article: 11.1

Extended Discussion Questions

  • The researchers claim studying real-time data from social media is a cost-effective approach to this type of problem.
    • What (potentially) makes analyzing social-media data cost-effective? What costs do you still have to pay?
    • Can you think of any other potential solutions involving real-time data collection and analysis? (For example, some type of sensor network?) Would those solutions be cost-effective?
  • Are there any risks in designing predictive models based on specific social media sites?
    • How might those risks affect transit planning that uses the models?
    • Are there any risks for the participants whose activity is being recorded?
  • The news release mentions that data could only be gathered from users who have enabled geotagging on Twitter.
    • Why might users be concerned about enabling geotagging?
    • How does this issue affect the collection of research data? What are some ways researchers could potentially minimize any problems?
    • Does an example of research like this affect how you think about geotagging? Why or why not?


Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework

Global Impact Learning Objectives:

  • LO 7.2.1 Explain how computing has impacted innovations in other fields.
  • LO 7.3.1 Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.

Global Impact Essential Knowledge:

  • EK 7.2.1A Machine learning and data mining have enabled innovation in medicine, business, and science.
  • EK 7.3.1A Innovations enabled by computing raise legal and ethical concerns.
  • EK 7.3.1J Technology enables the collection, use, and exploitation of information about, by, and for individuals, groups, and institutions.

Other CSP Big Ideas:

  • Idea 3 Data and Information
  • Idea 6 The Internet

Banner Image: “Network Visualization – Violet – Offset Crop”, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0

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